iii. Negotiating development
Development depends on the capacity of the different people and organisations involved to work together. And working together in turn depends on the capacity to negotiate the terms on which the work will proceed. Negotiation is needed in all sorts of contexts and at all sorts of levels: anything from identifying how many people should be involved in an initial planning meeting through agreeing who should play what role in a consortium to finalising the terms of government policy. Sometimes the negotiation reflects entrenched positions, with each party hoping to ‘win’ at the expense of the other(s). Sometimes, there is a will to ensure that all parties get something out of the process. Some negotiation – say, achieving a ceasefire in a complex emergency – is high profile and a matter of life and death. For the most part, though, negotiation is mundane, part of the everyday business of people who are different finding ways of ‘getting on’.
But whatever occasions it, and whatever spirit it is conducted in, negotiation is the life-blood of managing development.
Is everything in development negotiable? Or are some things non-negotiable? What values, beliefs, interests, lead you to your answers to these questions?